After Legerdemain 2 in 2009, we (namely Shade, Gordon, Jerome, Adrian, me… and a certain Chan Zian who went AWOL) thought we would never (have to) organize another “magic show” again. But as the cliche goes, “Never say never.”
It all started when our dear friend, Theng Liang , who is the out-going Chairman of the Ulu Pandan CC Youth Executive Committee , decided to do a mega-event as his swansong. After much deliberation, he decided, quite wisely, to use the Magic Interest Group (meaning us) to undertake this daunting project, and thus, the idea of “Project Phoenix” was conceived ( most likely it was Shade who came up with the banal name..).
*Now, I have to admit that the use of the pronoun “we” is slightly misleading, as most of the planning and coordination work were actually done by Theng Liang and Shade who had, among other things, commitments like work, family, studies and for the latter, a wife who never seemed to be willing to buy her own dinner…*
It was in March this year that we first started giving weekly magic lessons to a group of passionate volunteers from UPCC (abbreviation of Ulu Pandan CC that is… not to be confused with USPCC, the maker of playing cards and those overpriced decks sold by E and T11) Over the course of 6 weeks, they were taught a series of basic (some not-so-basic) magic effects which they put to good use performing to the children of Club Rainbow in an event in April.
A snapshot of the event.
Of course, the main event have to be the mega magic show on 1st June.
While most people would have been overwhelmed organizing an event of such magnitude, we remained absolutely unfazed, knowing that we have a bunch of talented and experienced individuals who are more than capable of pulling off a great show.
Axl Ching: Backstage CSM
With all the key-appointment-holders in place, the next pressing issue to settle is the performers.
We had initially short-listed 6 highly revered (some reviled) professional magicians (or at least semi-pro and not some self-glorified amatuers) but since we demand only the best, we decided to leave out lesser performers like Lu Chen, Cyril and Thomas Ong… et cetra , and stick with those, whom in our opinion, the cream of the crop.
In the end, it was down to 4: a TV celebrity children magician who had appeared on Okto Channel, our very own Legerdemain Stage-Magic Champion, an acclaimed sleight-of-hands expert turned mentalist (who also moonlighted as a band guitarist at one point of his life) and a veteran who had hobnobbed with many of the legends in the magic world (including a small time magician who goes by the totally unoriginal stage name of Copperfield..).
While I had the misfortune of missing most their acts, being in the backstage most of the time, judging from the “oohs”, “ahhhs” and the “wows” from the capacity crowd, I had no doubt about the quality of the performers we’d got.
One incident which really touched me emotionally involved this particular girl, Jiaying (from Club Rainbow), who did a Cups and Balls routine (with the aid of two young assistants).
While it may not be the most difficult thing to do in the world (for most of us), it was a formidable task for someone with her condition but in the end, as I would gladly report, she managed it admirably.
I remember giving her the thumbs-up after she returned to the backstage, commending her of a job well-done. Her response was something that I probably wouldn’t forget for a long long while: she flashed her megawatt smile and raised her palm towards me, inviting me to a high-five…
As my palm hit hers in that poignant moment, Shade’s words suddenly hit me, “It is about the kids…” Yes. Indeed.
All those who made Project Phoenix possible.
*Some parts of my writings are evidently tongue-in-cheek, so you are offended by it, please do find yourself a specialist to help deal with your ultra-sensitivity and lack of humor*
(All pictures downloaded from UPCC FB Page without permission. Please do not sue me.)